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What would it look like if people of color threw a “white party?” Akilah Hughes reveals why every flimsy defense of parties based on offensive stereotypes is completely absurd.
The Editors at Everyday Feminism
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It’s that time of year again. It’s always that time of year where allegedly well meaning, albeit totally naïve humans throw theme parties at the expense of entire races. Sometimes they’re shrouded in language like “pimps and hoes” party, or “fiesta” party, or “enchanted forest” party, but guess what? We all realize that what you actually mean is come dressed as the most offensive stereotypes of black people, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, et cetera that you can muster. AKA cultural appropriation. Or when you hijack part of a culture for personal use without permission. Not out of tribute, but because, “Oh my god, Native American headdresses are so cute.”
What might it look like if a bunch of people of color threw a “white” party. Imagine your surprise and dismay seeing a brotha at the snack table eating a mayonnaise sandwich, saying things like, “Well, that’s just how things are in John Boehner’s America.” Or, “Hey, don’t clean that up. We can get our maid to clean it for way below what we pay our kids to clean it. Or, “If white people can say cracker, why can’t I?” Would it be okay with you if an Asian girl stood in the corner taking pictures mocking the shape of your eyes?
What if a group of party-goers were joking loudly about how, “Girl, Jenny Lewis just dropped an album in the middle of the night, and white Twitter is going nuts.” “Check out Marie and Jesus doing the step and clap on the dance floor. You can tell how much they love Bastille by how much further from the beat the claps get as the song goes on.”
How would you feel if someone came up to you and asked, “Hey, do you want to play Edward Chardonnay hands?” While burning a bunch of money because they don’t know that all white people aren’t rich. Just like how all black people aren’t poor. Or how all Asian people aren’t Chinese, and all Mexicans don’t drive low riders.
What if Trey didn’t read the invitation carefully and forgot to wear his white clothes to the party, and everyone just stood next to him and opened up a hip doughnut shop, until the cost of just standing there was too much and he was forced to move. Gentrification one, Trey zero. What if while you were expressing the imagery made you uncomfortable, Jerome brought his friend Brad over and explain that Brad says the party is fine and not offensive, and that Brad’s individual white feelings about it trump everyone else’s. Full stop.
Plus, Jerome studied abroad in England for three months, so he has a deep understanding of the complex cultural traditions of that area, and “Oh my fucking god, I want to adopt a white baby. Would any of that make you uncomfortable? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Then maybe, just maybe, next time you won’t wear a culture as a costume, okay? Because it sucks, it’s tacky, and like most parties, it makes me wish it was socially acceptable to stay home and watch Netflix instead.
Also, if I’m still invited, could you please have Brittany make that guacamole she made last time. I think she got the recipe from Pinterest, it was really on point.
Speaker 2: Deep understanding of the complex cultural traditions of that area, and “Oh my fucking god, I want to adopt a white baby.”
Speaker 3: It’s like having a porcelain doll that talks.
Speaker 2: “Oh my fucking god, I want to adopt a white baby.”
Speaker 4: I’m going to name her Sarah, and she’ll be a diver.
Akilah Hughes is a UCB trained comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion’s pop culture section. Formerly at MTV, and a writer everywhere — you can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. Check out her YouTube channel and follow her on Twitter @AkilahObviously.